The Edgewater planning board last week gave its final approval for the redevelopment of 615 River Road, paving the way for significant additions to New Jersey’s Gold Coast.
The unanimous decision clears the way for developers — New York-based Maxal Group and Denver-based Envirofinance Group — to build 1,200 apartments on 19 acres on the Hudson waterfront. The site was formerly owned by Hess Oil.
“We want to thank the planning board for granting us the approvals that we have long sought,” Bruce Sturman, a managing director of the Maxal Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing a sophisticated, quality complex to Edgewater.”
Under the proposal, the 1.2 million-square-foot-project will be three, 25-story buildings. The project will include 20,000 square feet of commercial space, a two-acre public park, a waterfront walkway connected to an existing river walk and ferry service to New York. The developers have also proposed bus “super stops” that will create loading lanes for buses along River Road.
Of the 1,200 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 180 will be affordable to satisfy the borough’s state-mandated affordable housing obligation. A five-acre parcel on the western side of the property that straddles River Road is being set aside as the possible site for construction of a new school.
The additions are part of a settlement that the developers reached following a 2017 lawsuit. Under the agreement, the entire western parcel of the property — valued at $12 million — would be transferred to Edgewater. The developers would also improve transportation in the area, including by adding a ferry stop and a public riverfront park. The affordable housing was part of the deal as well.
The developers had been entangled in a legal battle involving the project’s affordable housing since July 2015.
For Cliffside Park and SoJo Spa Club, which sit across from the redevelopment site, the settlement was not enough. In February, the two sued again, claiming the groups settled to avoid addressing corruption allegations against prominent Edgewater developer Fred Daibes. Daibes was involved in a since-resolved federal lawsuit by 615 River Road Partners that accused borough officials and Daibes of scheming to block the development.
But Maxal and Envirofinance still have hurdles on the horizon. State Sens. Nick Sacco and Brian Stack introduced a bill in June aimed at preserving views of Manhattan for residents in 10 municipalities.
Dubbed the Palisades Cliffs Protection Act, the bill says no development east of Palisade Avenue can exceed the height of either 10 feet below the surface of that road or the scale of the Palisades cliff, whichever is lower.